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  • December 22, 2014
    Spiders Creeping Up in Homes in Northeastern U.S.

    We recently met up with New York City and Northern New Jersey Technical Specialist, John Kane, who explained, “Homeowners might start to notice more spiders in and around their homes as the cooler weather rolls in.”

    Much like humans, spiders seek shelter from cooler weather in warm environments, he explained. “Unfortunately, our homes provide the perfect harborage site for these intruders to ride out the colder months, which can lead to a larger infestation.”

    Spiders prefer to spin their webs in dark, undisturbed areas around the house, so homeowners should pay special attention to basements, garages and attics. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends keeping these areas particularly clean and free of clutter.

    Kane, paired with the NPMA, recommend these tips to avoid contact with spiders:

    • Install screens and weather stripping on windows and door sweeps on doors.
    • Fix any cracks in siding and walls, especially where pipes or wires enter the home.
    • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
    • Wear heavy gloves when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time.
    • Inspect items such as boxes of decorations and grocery bags before bringing them indoors.
    • Store clothing inside plastic containers and check shoes before putting them on, as spiders often hide in these items.
    • If you suspect that a spider has bitten you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.
    • If you have a spider infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional.

    “Spiders are a beneficial part of the ecosystem, as they provide a natural form of pest control by catching insects in their webs, but that doesn’t mean they have an open invitation to wander inside our homes,” said Kane.

    For more information on spiders and other common household pests, please visit  www.westernpest.com.

     

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  • December 18, 2014
    Squirrels Making Their Way Indoors

    You may think the squirrels scurrying around outside your home are harmless, but the truth is: they can cause extensive damage to your home’s structure in a surprisingly efficient and determined way.

    With the weather cooling down and landscaping needs falling to lesser importance this fall season, it’s important to make sure you are still maintaining your home so that you can defend against squirrels and other constant chewers.

    Our Wilmington, Delaware Branch Manager, Tony Franciscus, reveals several tips you can employ to keep your home protected.

    “It’s important to periodically inspect eaves and overhangs of your home because these are places that create perfect entry points for squirrels and other rodents to get indoors. If left ignored, these can be the biggest problem areas for you and your home,” he said.

    For older homes in cities like Wilmington, Franciscus said, it’s important to consistently maintain and inspect your home to prevent potential pest entry points, especially along the roofline. Also, be sure to trim branches that are growing along your home to minimize a preferred pest pathway onto the exterior of your home.

    While squirrels tend to get in through the attic, Franciscus has seen them and other pests get in through chimneys, as well. Consider installing a chimney cap to keep pests out of this area.  In addition to protecting your chimney from leaves and other debris, chimney caps have other benefits as well. They can keep rain from coming directly into chimney and creating additional moisture issues in your home, as well as preventing other pests like bats.

    Other ways that pests tend to get inside your home is through your garage door. Reduce rodent and other pest risks by keeping the garage door closed at all times. If your garage door doesn’t sit flush with the ground, consider filling gaps with concrete or installing gasket seals.

    If you are concerned you have a squirrel, rodent, or other pest issue in your home, contact a licensed pest control professional to remove them safely and effectively.

     

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  • December 11, 2014
    Improper Deck Maintenance Invites Unwanted Pests

    Home maintenance is often your best protection against pests, especially in the fall and winter months when pests are looking to get into your home to keep warm from the cold weather. Just because the seasons are changing, your outdoor property shouldn’t fall to the wayside. If your maintenance habits tend to slack off in the fall and winter, pests will be sure to take advantage.

    One of the areas that is most commonly infiltrated by pests this season is your home’s deck. If your deck is weathered or the wood has lost its luster and shine, it could become an attractive place for pests to get comfortable, our Wilmington, DE Branch Manager, Tony Franciscus explained.

    “Take a look at the condition of your deck. If it’s weathered, consider re-sealing it with stain or a clear coat,” he said. A sealed deck prevents pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, who are looking to get into the grooves of exposed or rotting wood and make it their meal. Adding a layer of clear coat or stain will add an extra layer of protection.

    This will also reduce your risk over the winter for the upcoming spring season, when spring’s most common moisture loving pests – the Wood Destroyers, will start to emerge.

    If you have a wood deck that is raised off the ground, consider installing screen mesh material underneath to reduce wildlife and other pests or animals from nesting in the dark, comfortable area beneath.

    Another area to check for pests this season is your shed. If you find gaps underneath your shed or deck, many pests, like skunks, rodents, squirrels, opossums, and other animals will seek to hide out in these areas too, potentially causing damage underneath. Screen off these areas to prevent them from getting inside and having the opportunity to wreak havoc.

    You can also:

    • Keep structures freshly painted or sealed
    • Trim back bushes and trees
    • Ensure proper drainage away from structures
    • Level dirt/ground under structures
    • Remove any puddles, standing water, or debris

    If you suspect you have a rodent, animal, or other pest taking up residence near your deck, shed, or home, always take caution, and contact a licensed pest professional to properly exclude the pests.

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